High Winds Stroke Long Island As Storm Hits

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Just east of New York City, towns in suburban Long Island are bracing for Tropical Storm Irene. Guest host John Ydstie speaks to Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano about preparations in the area.


Just east of New York City, towns in suburban Long Island are bracing for Irene. High winds and flooding are being reported in Nassau County.

We're joined on the line by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. Hello, Mr. Mangano.

ED MANGANO: How are you doing?

YDSTIE: Now roughly, how many Nassau County residents are in the projected path? And how many of them have been evacuated?

MANGANO: Well, the storm surge area had been evacuated yesterday. All of the people that would normally not be able to get out of there - the nursing home people and the disabled and hospitals - we were able to evacuate safely. There's no way to calculate how many actually left. And of course, a number of people stayed behind and are in the storm surge zone.

YDSTIE: Ed, how many people in Nassau County - in the zone?

MANGANO: One point three million; about 300,000 in the zone.

YDSTIE: And where are the evacuees going?

MANGANO: We have a family and friend plan here - that we encourage that they just move out of the zone and stay the weekend with a family member or a friend. We have 20 shelters open, the shelters of ours. We have a last resort, about 4,000 residents are residing in our shelters right now.

YDSTIE: And any problems with the evacuation?

MANGANO: It did go smoothly. Our police department and our emergency management professionals, as well as our volunteer fire departments, just performed a wonderful job in moving people along.

YDSTIE: And while the storm was still hundreds of miles away, Long Island was already being hit by heavy winds, street flooding and power outages. And the high tide this morning raised concerns about this storm surge, right?

MANGANO: Yeah, the high tide is still of concern. You can see the water levels now in the barrier islands have breached, so we are concerned of the effect of high tide and additional winds will have on that, and we're monitoring that.

YDSTIE: Yeah. Where is the worst so far?

MANGANO: The barrier islands, Long Beach, in that area; and Freeport - that's where we're getting reports of flooding.

YDSTIE: And what's the plan after the storm? How long will it be before evacuated residents can go home?

MANGANO: That assessment is made immediately upon - when the storm ends. So, you know, our objective is to get them rapidly back to their homes.

YDSTIE: All right. Ed Mangano is the Nassau County executive. Thank you very much for speaking with us. And good luck.

MANGANO: Thank you.

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